View Full Version : Terrorist attack threatened in gulf? - you decide

23rd Nov 2001, 12:50
George Galloway

Tuesday November 20, 2001

Last Wednesday, an Iraqi Airways Boeing 727 civilian airliner was climbing out from Basra, Iraq's southern port, when the ether crackled at 121.5 megahertz with an unmistakable American voice: "This is the United Nations [sic] no-fly zone enforcement patrol calling Iraqi airliner travelling at 21,000 feet proceeding at 400mph north-west from Basra. I warn you that you are subject to being fired upon - you continue to fly at your own risk."

Thus in the middle of a war against terrorism, falsely claiming a UN mandate - the "no-fly zones" are in fact imposed unilaterally by Britain and the US - an allied pilot was threatening 180 civilian passengers with airborne death. That would have created quite a desert storm.

I might not have believed this story if an Iraqi official had told me. But as chance would have it for the US pilot, I was on that flight, sitting in the cockpit with Captain Akram, who disdainfully ignored the warning. Also on the aircraft were Lord Naseer Ahmed, Britain's first Muslim peer, and the solidly Blairite MP Kerry Pollard......

The rest of the report can be found here
Guardian News Story (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4302557,00.html)

OK, lets just for one minute take this report as being accurate, can anyone defend this?

Yes, sorry personally i DO believe that anyone who threatens to shoot down an airliner that is simply going about its normal business is making a terrorist threat.

If you were intercepted off the coast of wherever you may think the same, but from the comfort of your own home....... asbestos underwear is donned so flame away.

The point I’m trying to make here is that i thought we were supposed to be the good guys & i didn’t think the white hats were supposed to do (even threaten to do) this kid of thing.

The Guvnor
23rd Nov 2001, 13:10
Hang on a second ... this article was penned by that notorious pro-Saddamite 'Gorgeous' George Galloway MP! :eek: :D :eek:

According to him, America is the Great Satan and Saddam is the saviour of the oppressed masses of the free world. (Well, at least those bits that haven't been blown up, gassed, or generally destroyed by his mate and his buddies).

However, if it's true - then knowing that the 727 is a passenger airliner the Americans would be well out of order to deliberately shoot it down. Migs are one thing; airliners completely another. :mad: :mad:

Notso Fantastic
23rd Nov 2001, 15:37
RTFI- you need to take a reality pill. This regime in Iraq sponsors terrorism, exterminates its own minorities, takes over neighbouring countries on a whim. What more proof do you need that a certain gentleman should depart and the country be welcomed back to contribute its bit to a peaceful world. Just support the sanctions. The fact that the regime is the current darling of the left is unfortunate, but the Taliban also appears to be, so we can ignore them. Why wasn't that aeroplane shot down then- DID it ignore the no-fly zone or not? IF it did, then I resent my taxpayers money being spent on just watching them flout regs!

23rd Nov 2001, 16:11
A couple of things spring to my inexpert mind here. First, if there is a no-fly zone but a country has airliners flying into and out then would I be wrong to think that those airliners (of whatever nationality) have specific routings, height maintenance and timings? Second, is the way the alleged UN aircraft identified itself correct for such an intercept? Third, the tone of the report is very biased and it is good that someone else on the List has identified the author as a pro-Saddam individual. Fourth, and finally, that the bulk of UN aircraft are currently US/UK is a matter of record - however, most other UN nations with appropriate military expertise are making their agreed contribution to the general effort which is a UN effort.


23rd Nov 2001, 17:34
Given Galloway's known anti American and pro Saddam bias. One can hardly believe that what he says is an accurate description of events. Not being familiar with the SOP in the no fly zones, I can only speculate that radio message was simply a warning not to enter the no fly zone. The fact that the Captain 'manfully ignored' the supposed 'threat' implies that in fact there was no threat as far as he was concerned, merely a routine warning. A few carefully altered words by Galloway who after all is neither credible nor a pilot would change the emphasis of the so called threat.
The rest of his article reinforces the impression that the man is so far to the left that he's completely on his own. I suspect even the Iraqis consider him a joke.
The real joke is on the people who elected him as an MP in Scotland. What were they thinking?

23rd Nov 2001, 17:43
RTFI ignores UN resolution 688, which is generally considered to provide the "legal" basis for the operation of the no-fly zones. This was followed by the setting-up of the North Zone following a pretty savage attack on the Kurds, from Iraqi helicopter gun-ships, followed by the Southern Zone a year later following an equally savage attack against the Shi'ite Muslims in the South.

Because this Resolution did not specifically detail the scope and operation of these zones, pro-Iraqi sympathisers tend to disagree about their "legality".

Certainly there appears to be greater "moral" than "legal" grounds, as mentioned in a recent HofC committee as reported at:

23rd Nov 2001, 19:52
Maybe I'm not reading the text of the US pilots warning correctly but wasn't he warning that the aircraft could be subject to danger from another source if it continued? The wording used at the end of the Tx was 'you continue to fly at your own risk'. If the US aircraft had an aggressive motive it would have continued the intercept. If the airliner didn't respond when ordered to do so the US jet would have escalated its actions. This sounds like a routine warning about proceding; the Iraqi airline captain certainly doesn't seem to have felt the need for any precautionary action. Its amazing how the 'routine' can be twisted to appear more significant than it really was.



23rd Nov 2001, 20:04
One wonders exactly how he was serving his Glasgow constituents with a trip to Iraq...

He says he was on the flight deck - he doesn't actually say he heard this message. Ha also names a couple of other MP's who were on the flight, as if they could bear out his story. He doesn't say, and therefore I don't believe, that they were also on the flight deck, so they could corroborate exactly zilch.

24th Nov 2001, 01:26

Took a reality pill sometime ago, i think its still working. There actually isn’t a UN resolution that declares no fly zones so therefore it has no basis in international law. If you think it does quote the resolution. Just cause we dont like em doesn’t give us the right to make up rules to kill em all you know.

Yes Galloway is slanted shall we say and i personally would not call him a reliable witness, which is why i said, "supposing for a second that this report is accurate". I am not saying that it is.

I just think that military and civilian traffic should keep as much separation as possible, otherwise things may start falling from the sky.

I can think of at least 3 shootdowns that have occurred through misunderstandings, which can happen when military/civil types are in close proximity.

Does it have to happen again?

24th Nov 2001, 01:40
I just don't trust the word of politicians, if one told me it was dark, I'd check outside just to see for myself. Politician, especially left wingers are a slippery bunch!

24th Nov 2001, 02:45
From www.fas.org (http://www.fas.org)

.......There is a clear justification law for the international community to respond to protect people where they threatened.........same......was in relation to Kosovo.......

Perhaps the U N could the same in Israel (NO - fly zone) to protect the Palestinians and lebanese from the Israeli airforce and army helicopter gun- ships. :confused:

24th Nov 2001, 05:03

Or should that be spinmeister? as you concluded there is no legal basis for the no fly, so how am i ignoring resolution 688 as it does not provide the basis you imply it does.

Also i am not a pro-Iraqi sympathiser, i agree the guy has got to go, probably should have been done in '91. Just trying to keep the collataral damage down, as you say the people are opressed by Sadam no need to blow them out of the sky to make a point.

Semaphore Sam
24th Nov 2001, 07:35
I remember the clamour that rightfully occurred when Korean 007 was shot down (he was not where he was supposed to be). Also, the Libyan aircraft the Israelies shot down, and the Iranian aircraft that that trigger-happy Naval ship shot up (and HE was on course, on a scheduled flight).

In all these cases, the military did not have the extreme circumstances to justify action that would now apply if an aircraft were not to respond to ATC & turn towards a major city or nuclear facility. Any Iraqi 727 even threatened is an abomination, unless he does something obviously threatening himself. The Iranian shootdown was particularly egregious, resulting in the loss of 2 planeloads of innocents (the Pan Am bombing was very likely the result). Forget good guys & bad guys...let's STOP shooting down, or even threatening same, no matter who. Iranian and Iraqi commercial cockpit crew are our professional brothers, regardless of politics.

24th Nov 2001, 10:17
Well SENATOR-7, perhaps the so-called Palestinian Arabs could stop blowing themselves and innocents up in Pizza restaurants, bus stations, shopping malls, and even office buildings. Then there would be no need for Israeli self-defence, which no fair-minded person can object to.

[ 24 November 2001: Message edited by: PPRuNe Towers ]

24th Nov 2001, 14:40
Anyone who believes The Gruadian in general or Hamilton in particular deserves all the misleading they get.
He reminds me of the lefties of the fifties who went on 'friendship' visits to Moscow and, topped up with vodka, were shown what 'Uncle Joe' wanted them to see and then came back to tell us of the wonders of Soviet Communism.

24th Nov 2001, 16:04
Having just read this thread with no particular bias ( other than the usual dislike of Saddam ) I am amazed how many ppruners allow their relative biases to completely consume their thought processes.

Why cant you admit to yourselves the facts. Suicide bombers are scum, Israeli responses are unjustifiable ( in my opinion a regime Hitler would have been proud of ). Hussein and his ilk will ( hopefully ) fry in hell but likewise there is no justification for any harassment of civilian aircraft while airborn whether in Russia, Iraq or in the Ockham hold.

Unless MO'L is aboard. ;) ;) ;)

The Guvnor
24th Nov 2001, 16:35
Basil - you mean Galloway, not Hamilton ... don't you?! :D :eek: :D

24th Nov 2001, 20:36

Oh calm down mate,
it looks like you could with a stiff drink.


First, I was only wondering whether the U N would establish a no- fly zone in Israel or not.

Second, I did not mention the crimes committed by the state of Israel throughout its short history.

last, do me a favour MissChief do not ask me to CLEAR OFF please, if you can`t take part in a civilised discussion then perhaps you ought to leave this site yourself. ;) ;)

Conky Joe
24th Nov 2001, 22:13

Don't you think those pesky Palestinians might stop blowing themselves up in Israeli pizza restaurants if the irritating Israelis stopped marching into Palestinian territory, knocking down their houses and building houses for their own people? Just an idea ...

unwrapping the aog
25th Nov 2001, 01:43

That really makes my blood boil! What would you do if some other country aggressively moved in took over your country, then started building houses on it, and bombed the sh*t out of your homeless countrymen every time some kids throw so much as a stone at the invading Israeli armies solders.

Yes I do not codone the PLO etc but I can certainly see there point.

And another thing that bothers me is if peace and stability is what the Israelis want, then why each time there is a terrorist attack (quite often in Palestine, so Palestinian self defence is more accurate)The Israeli forces always attack Palestinian Police stations and security forces!

The ongoing situation in Israel is I beleive the Number 1 contributor to troubles in the Middle East. :mad: :mad: :mad:

Capt PPRuNe
25th Nov 2001, 02:28
This is an aviation website for professional pilots. This is NOT a political discussion website and anyone who wants to carry out such discussions can go and find one of the countless forums elsewhere on the internet and slug it out there.

Before any of theĻ"free speech" brigade get their knickers in a twist they can email me because I am not going to have this or any other PPRuNe forum hijacked by extremists from any persuasion. You don't likr it? Tough. You are not going to be allowed to use my bandwidth for your rantings.

You want free speech, go and set your own site up. This one isn't free, it costs me money!